If Saudi Diplomats Are Enslaving Their Hired Help On U.S. Soil, Will The White House Answer?

Virginia police and U.S. Customs may have exposed a tiny bastion of the Saudi culture of segregation, servitude and control over women and those of meager economic means — right in the posh bedroom community where the Nation’s power players and foreign diplomats retire each day after doing their business in Washington.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed two domestic workers from a diplomatic mansion in the upscale, unincorporated community of McLean, Va., late Tuesday. A preferred residence of Congressmen, diplomats and high-earning government employees, McLean lies just across the Potomac from Washington, D.C., offering a fast commute for those whose day jobs take them into the city.

The mansion, owned by the Saudi Armed Forces Office, allegedly held two unidentified workers who agents believe were being held in a condition of domestic servitude that approximated slavery. It’s not known whether those two individuals were women, although Saudi domestic custom would strongly suggest it.

Nowhere on Earth do the medieval and the modern entwine in a single culture so strikingly as in Saudi Arabia. Women cannot drive. They are completely segregated from men. They cannot seek employment, enroll in a university, or make any self-willed foray into the public sphere without first obtaining the permission of a male sponsor.

Yet women in even marginally affluent families have incredible access to great secular entertainments and modern niceties. Comfortably and sufficiently removed from firsthand experience of extremist violence at home, most stable Saudi men and women tend to regard suicide bombings and literal jihad as the endeavors of a fringe few. So long as the men aren’t around, the girls can dance all night in tight party dresses while listening to Nicki Minaj.

But foreigners brought to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants enjoy only the medieval side of that dichotomy. Whether kept in the home or encountered in the service industry, they are regarded as property:

 

 

Even though slavery is an ancient, ancient memory in Saudi Arabia (it was abolished way back in 1962), the culture of ownership prevails. The country is a hot spot for the importation of both men and women destined for slave-like domestic service, often through the legally disingenuous skirting of the law known as “contract servitude.” Who knows how frequent are the terrifying anecdotes of foreign female domestic servants who end up living as hostages with married, middle-class rapists and their wives?

Governments in several of the impoverished origin countries that supply the Saudi domestic servitude market have gotten wise, with India and other South Asian countries either banning Saudi recruitment of domestic workers or setting age thresholds for women hopeful that a stint in a Saudi household can enrich their poor finances.

Yet Saudi Arabia is too crucial a Mideast ally for the United States — ostensibly a principled Nation that occasionally rattles its papier-mâché saber at regimes like Syria — to take a second glance at oil-rich and regionally influential King Abdullah’s abysmal abuse of individual rights. Not to mention the Saudi government’s willed blindness when it comes to the country’s de facto favored-nation status among budding Islamic terrorists.

It will be interesting in the days to come to see how much information is released about what was going on in that mansion in McLean — and, if the worst turns out to be true, whether any Saudi national will ever be brought to account.

Representative Frank Wolf (R-Va.) has called for the U.S. State Department to intervene if it’s shown that Saudi diplomats are keeping their “hired” help in forced servitude on U.S. soil. But it’s difficult to imagine any scenario in which the Administration of President Barack Obama would come down hard on nationals of an Islamic nation that, at times, seems to have the White House in its thrall.

Guerilla Diplomacy: North Korea Sentences American Citizen To 15 Years’ Hard Labor To Lure U.S. Into Talks, Tribute

An American citizen who went to North Korea late last year as a tour guide has been arrested and charged by the North Korean Supreme Court on a vague charge of attempting to overthrow the government.

Kenneth Bae, 44, an American of South Korean descent whom friends describe as a devout Christian, had been detained in November of last year in the city of Rason, near the Russian border. Bae was traveling with a group of tourists at the time of his arrest.

The Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s state-run media, released a statement over the weekend alleging Bae had admitted to “committing crimes aimed to topple the democratic People’s Republic of Korea with hostility toward it.”

He has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

Those who know Bae said he has an interest in humanitarian issues and may have been arrested for possessing pictures of orphaned, vagrant North Korean children.

“Mr. Bae has been supporting an orphanage and running a bakery with the North Korean authorities’ agreement. But he is being detained for taking pictures of homeless children,” said Do Hee-yoon, who works with a human rights group in Seoul.

Bae is the sixth known American to have been detained in North Korea since 2009. A pattern has emerged over that time, indicating the North Korean government may view such arrests as bargaining chips in diplomatic relations with the United States and may time them to initiate an American response whenever there’s been an especially dire deterioration in the two nations’ perpetually strained relations.

In addition, baiting American dignitaries into meetings that take place on North Korean soil may serve the regime’s domestic propaganda function. As Reuters surmises:

North Korea appears to use the release of high profile American prisoners to extract a form of personal tribute, rather than for economic or diplomatic gain, often portraying visiting dignitaries as paying homage.

Two U.S. journalists were arrested in 2009 and sentenced to hard labor, but they were pardoned into the custody of former President Bill Clinton after he traveled to Pyongyang to secure their release. In the bargain, former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, excoriated by the United States for recent underground nuclear tests, got some face time with Clinton, which eventually led to a temporary reprieve in escalating tensions.

Similarly, former President Jimmy Carter flew to North Korea in 2010 to negotiate the release of an American who had allegedly entered the country illegally.

Bae’s sentencing follows an acrimonious start to new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s relationship with the United States, with the Supreme Leader escalating war rhetoric and conducting a series of tests (one involving a nuclear weapon) and border drills since the start of President Barack Obama’s second term in office.

A Facebook vigil page calling for Bae’s release has been set up.

Christie Edges Closer To Democratic Conversion With Featured Spot At Clinton Economic Summit

Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will partner with Hillary Clinton next month as double-billed featured speakers at a Clinton Global Initiative conference, to be held June 13 in Chicago.

The CGI America event serves as a sort of brainstorming session on economic issues, with this year’s focus on how to “promote economic recovery in the United States.”

CGI was founded in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton as a bipartisan group. But looking at some of the other high-profile names scheduled to attend this year’s event, Christie still seems — barely — the most conservative of the bunch.

Seattle Riot Pits Clowns Versus Superheroes, Fed Sits On Rates, Your Brain Is Killing You, Go To College And Get A Sex Change, Joe Biden Makes No Sense: Thursday Morning News Roundup 5-2-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Cops in Seattle quelled a melee after a public May Day protest, which drew out guys in superhero costumes vigilant in case the demonstrating clowns got rowdy — as they evidently have in past May Day events.
  • Interest Rates aren’t going anywhere. The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it would maintain rates as it continues to buy up bond assets at a rate of $85 billion per month. Chairman Ben Bernanke has said the Fed will hold rates at their historic lows until employment falls to 6.5 percent and inflation rises to 2.5 percent.
  • Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have figured out how to slow down and speed up the aging process in lab rats by playing with the hypothalamic region in their brains. One researcher said he sees no reason why the same thing can’t eventually be done in humans.
  • Another elite university is adding sexual reassignment to its student healthcare plan, bringing the count to 37 U.S. schools that offer to help students pay for the procedure through insurance. There’s a price for everyone, though: Student fees are going up .03 percent to accommodate the elective procedure.
  • You’re on your own with this one: Vice President Joe Biden overstretched his intellect again Wednesday at a Washington, D.C., fundraising event, dropping loose cannon fire on a supportive crowd with these zingers: Just like that guy who was afraid to tell anybody he’d been raped in that “Deliverance” movie, real rape victims “don’t want to get raped again by the system,” “there’s a snake in the bed” of young girls who turn a corner at some point during adolescence, and “[T]here should be two Senators from the State of D.C.”

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Mideast Muslims Favor Sharia Law

American leaders’ perennial fantasy that bringing a taste of consumer culture to Mideast countries ripe for occupation will somehow open a floodgate of populist enthusiasm for Beyoncé and constitutional rule isn’t reflected in a new survey that reveals the predominant views of common people in the Muslim world.

The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, shows there’d likely be very little wiggle room in any U.S.-led battle for Middle Eastern hearts and minds. Residents of most Muslim nations, in fact, are pretty united in embracing the political, social and religious culture they already know, and don’t seem interested in alternatives.

The survey included face-to-face interviews of nearly 40,000 Muslims and spanned more than 80 languages in Europe, Asia, the Mideast and Africa.

Although the numbers varied by country, the majority of average Muslims surveyed favor a theocratic form of government. Specifically, they favor Sharia law, the moral and religious law of Islam, infallibly delivered by Allah and prescriptive of every facet of personal and public behavior.

To American sensibilities, the life-pervading extent of Sharia — along with the unchallenged and literal carrying out of punishments for violating Islamic code — is repugnant as an expression of government.

But in Muslim countries, Sharia is what most people want, especially as a means of resolving disputes in domestic life. Their approval of Sharia’s “eye-for-eye” sentencing varied much more broadly, however, with more either repudiating the practice or stating they believe it not to be common throughout the majority of the Muslim world.

In the Islamic republic of Afghanistan, 99 percent of those surveyed favor Sharia — presumably over the 2004 Afghan constitution — as the law of the land. Those numbers don’t drop off dramatically elsewhere. The survey reported:

[S]olid majorities in most of the countries surveyed across the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia favor the establishment of sharia, including 71% of Muslims in Nigeria, 72% in Indonesia, 74% in Egypt and 89% in the Palestinian territories.

While the survey indicates a profound devotion to an Islamic way of life encompassing both the private and public sphere, it also indicates the majority of Muslims distance themselves from what they regard as Islamic extremism and, in fact, consider violent acts perpetrated by Islamic groups a much greater threat than “Christian extremists.”

Unsurprisingly, the Palestinian territories offer an exception: 40 percent of Palestinians surveyed said they support suicide bombings.

New Policy Will Court-Martial Soldiers Who Share Religious Faith

Would you want the government to have the power to make a judgment call about your religious beliefs (or lack thereof)?

If you’re a U.S. soldier who’s a Christian, Jew, Muslim or something else, would you want to entrust your fate to a military hierarchy steered, from the top, with the guidance of a man who founded an organization expressly designed to eradicate any form of individual religious expression from the ranks of fighting men and women?

It’s at hand. The Pentagon confirmed on Wednesday a story published by Breitbart alleging the military would begin court-martialing soldiers who share their religious faith.

In a statement it released to FOX News, Pentagon spokesman Nate Christensen wrote: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the department of Defense. Court martials [sic] and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis and it would be inappropriate to speculate on the outcome in specific cases.”

The new policy comes after Pentagon leaders met with Air Force officer-turned-activist Mikey Weinstein, who founded and leads the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). Weinstein is ostensibly for the separation of church and state, but a read through his guest column at the Huffington Post betrays a peerless hatred for Christianity in particular.

Separation of church and state has always been a Constitutional tug of war, one that’s least elegantly fought when the struggle’s being waged by ardent atheists on one side and the very religious on the other.

But the desperation of the enlisted individuals whom death shadows on battlefields in foreign lands has existed in its own sacred, personal realm for militaries in all times and places. The rights of soldiers who call on the divine, cobbling together impromptu battlefield relationships as they seek to bond over faiths they may not even have previously shared, cannot be questioned.

The consolation of religious faith, shared among soldiers at once brave and fearful, is an eternal and de facto extrajudicial prerogative against which there must be no “policy,” as retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin told FOX News.

“If chaplains and other personnel are censored from offering the full solace of the Gospel, there is no religious freedom in the military,” he said.

Liberal Blogger Cited For Allegedly Faking Facebook Rape Threat And Blaming It On Conservative

A liberal University of Wyoming student who routinely berates conservatives on her blog and college radio show has been charged for allegedly staging an anonymous rape threat against herself and attributing it to a fictitious conservative Facebook poster.

Meg Lanker-Simons, whose cognitive dissonance blog last year even garnered her an honor from liberal spigots Mother Jones and Think Progress, was cited by University of Wyoming police for interference with an investigation and making false statements to the police department, following this rape threat she allegedly made against herself on the “UW Crushes” Facebook page, posing as a close-minded conservative creep:

I want to hate f**k Meg Lanker-Simons so hard. That chick that runs her liberal mouth all the time and doesn’t care who knows it. I think its hot and it makes me angry. One night with me and shes gonna be a good Republican bit*h.

The threat gave Lanker-Simons, pictured, the opportunity to scold the allegedly phony, would-be “hate f**ker” on her award-winning blog, where she called the threat “disgusting, misogynistic, and apparently something the admins of this page think is a perfectly acceptable sentiment.”

In 2011, Lanker-Simons reported she’d received an emailed death threat, which was allegedly timed to coincide with a campus visit from conservative columnist Ann Coulter.

“The message, which listed Lanker-Simon’s address and included a description of her car, was emailed to the Star-Tribune,” reported the Casper Star Tribune of the 2011 incident.

H/T: campusreform.org

Amendment To Include Gay Green Cards Could Derail Immigration Bill

It almost smells like sabotage. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, has announced he plans to introduce an amendment to a sweeping immigration reform bill that would allow gay U.S. citizens to sponsor their foreign-born partners in order to obtain green cards.

That’s something heterosexual couples already are able to do, and Leahy and other Democrats are feeling pressure from gay rights groups to make sure the new language makes it into the final draft of the bill.

But RINOs can swerve course on only one social issue at a time without alienating their base, and combining gay rights with immigration reform is too much: Gang of Eight Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told POLITICO Tuesday that adding the gay green card amendment “will virtually guarantee that [immigration reform] won’t pass.”

Democracy’s Been Hacked, Gay HOF, Cruz-ing Toward The White House, Dis-invitation, Obamacare’s Bumpy Road: Thursday Morning News Roundup 4-25-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Drawing on his wealth of understanding of all things digital, former Vice President Al Gore has decided that American democracy has been “hacked” by 2nd Amendment activists and other special interests.
  • A hall of fame for gay athletes has launched in Chicago on the heels of veteran NBA player Jason Collins’ surprise announcement that he is gay.
  • Freshman Senator Ted Cruz is considering a Presidential run, according to his friends and confidants.
  • The Rev. Kevin Johnson, a prominent alumnus of historically black Morehouse College, got himself “disinvited” from a baccalaureate speaking engagement at his alma mater — allegedly because he dared to criticize the Administration of President Barack Obama in a newspaper opinion piece.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

*Staff writer Sam Rolley contributed to this article.

GAO Investigates Big Sis’ Big Ammo Buy As Congress Demands Answers

The Governmental Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ financial investigative and auditing agency, has gotten involved in the controversy over the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) massive buy-up of firearms ammunition.

In an interview with U.S. News,GAO spokesman Chuck Young said the investigation is “just getting underway.” Presumably at the behest of one or more Congressmen, the GAO will investigate the reasoning behind the alleged purchase of anywhere between 750 million and 1.6 billion (depends on whom you ask) rounds of ammunition.

The high figure is enough bullets to have prolonged the George W. Bush-era Iraq war for 20 additional years; the low figure — which DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano swears by — is still enough to keep the fighting going for about a decade.

Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Representative Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) separately introduced a new piece of legislation last week in each house of Congress that, if passed, would force DHS and other Federal agencies (except for the Department of Defense) to submit to GAO accounting of its ammunition purchases, particularly as they may affect the supply and cost of ammunition to the general public.

Named the AMMO Act, the bill would also restrict any agency (except for the Department of Defense) from ordering additional ammunition for six months whenever its existing stockpile of ammo exceeds the average monthly amount it was maintaining before President Barack Obama began his first term in office.

Citing his Oklahoma constituents’ complaints that ammunition for civilians is in very short supply, Inhofe said the AMMO Act would curb DHS and other civilian agencies from hording ammo and would require them to make routine Congressional reports that justify their need for the bullets they do purchase:

President Obama has been adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans’ access and opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights. One way the Obama Administration is able to do this is by limiting what’s available in the market with federal agencies purchasing unnecessary stockpiles of ammunition. As the public learned in a House committee hearing this week, the Department of Homeland Security has two years worth of ammo on hand and allots nearly 1,000 more rounds of ammunition for DHS officers than is used on average by our Army officers. The AMMO Act of 2013 will enforce transparency and accountability of federal agencies’ ammunition supply while also protecting law-abiding citizens access to these resources.

Want To Hijack A Plane? Get A Job With The TSA

In a lengthy investigation into security breaches at the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, Dallas-Ft. Worth police made a pretty interesting discovery: The easiest way to subvert security measures designed to prevent hijackings or terrorist acts inside airports is to join the ranks of those hired to do the enforcement.

A supervisor with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is among more than 100 workers on a long list of security officers, industry executives, flight attendants and service contractors alleged to have abused their security clearance privileges over the past two years at the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, helping friends and family members bypass the dragnet of safety checks designed to stop criminals and contraband from making it onto planes.

That dragnet is only as effective as the people managing it, and the motives for the alleged abuses can seem like anything from the simply corrupt — “perks” for families of pilots and airline CEOs who don’t want to wait in long lines, for example — to the inscrutable, such as the unnamed TSA supervisor who allegedly escorted another unnamed worker through an employee door for reasons that aren’t known.

NBC 5 in Dallas reported the numbers:

[R]ecords show most of the recent security violations at DFW were caused by workers with security badges.

Out of more than 140 confirmed security violations in two years — at least 106 were linked to badge holding employees and vendors.

[Airport spokesman David] Magana said the airport is confident its security system catches the vast majority of violators and if any are sneaking through, “that number is very small.”

Aviation Security Consultant Chaim Koppel suspects for every one worker who gets caught as many as two or three abusing their badges manage to get through.

The airport has more than 50,000 employees. That’s a big sea of anonymity to shelter a few rogue TSA agents who sought out the job as the easiest path to hatching a terrorist plan. And if security abuses are going on at DFW, you can bet the same thing’s happening in major airports across the United States.

Think that’s far-fetched? Look at the model citizens who’ve gotten TSA jobs (which start out at $15 per hour for screeners): there are the thieves, the functionally illiterate, the pizza demographic, the perverse, the armed robbers, the rapists, the pedophiles, the junkies, the smugglers, the murderers and the meth cookers.

As one former screener explains, it’s easy to get an entry-level TSA job, and no one’s really watching you once you’ve donned your uniform and affixed your badge.

If you and your buddies wanted to commandeer a plane (whether for jihad or for a joyride), wouldn’t you rather sidestep the laborious terrorist 101 rigmarole in favor of being wined and dined by the Department of Homeland Security’s recruitment process — and rewarded with the sterling security clearance that awaits?

Nearly Half Of Americans Don’t Realize Obamacare Is Law

With five months left until health coverage exchanges are due to release their insurer lists for those who’ll be “opting in” to Obamacare in 2014, a poll has come out revealing that a staggering 42 percent of Americans don’t even know that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is — as it has been since 2010 — the law of the land.

Of those surveyed, 12 percent also believed Congress had already repealed the law, and another 7 percent thought the Supreme Court had overturned it.

Ironically, those for whom the law ostensibly was passed, the poor and the uninsured, turned out to be the least informed about what Obamacare is and how it affects them.

At least the number of people who reported having a negative impression of how the law will be implemented outnumbered those who had a positive one — by roughly 3-to-1 — across all income brackets.

Pick Your Sport, Locker Room And Public Restroom Under Proposed California Law

The California Legislature is considering a bill that would give kids in the State’s public schools the option of choosing which public bathroom they use, based on the “gender” with which a student most readily identifies.

The bill also would force schools to allow boys and girls to choose whether to participate on boys’ or girls’ teams in all sex-segregated sports activities — again, with their gender identity forming the basis for their choice.

Opponents haven’t had trouble envisioning scenarios, ranging from grave to ridiculous to comical, that would inevitably arise in California schools if the bill is approved. The Pacific Justice Institute has set up a “Gender Insanity” website arguing, in common-sense language, against the bill:

Under this legislation, there are absolutely no safeguards against abuse. Any teenage boy who “identifies” with teenage girls must be given full access to girls’ teams and facilities—including showers, bathrooms and locker rooms. Coaches and parents would have no say in the matter. This is not equality; it is insanity. We cannot stand by and allow politicians controlled by radical special interest groups to sacrifice the privacy of the 99% of our students who are not confused about their biological gender for the 1% (or less) who are. It is incredibly naïve for the Legislature to believe that such a law would never be abused or exploited by a predator.

No mention of how many times adventurous, locker-room-hopping students would get to “re-identify” their gender affinity under the proposal.

Gun Sales Soar, War On Privacy, Obama’s Liked (In Mexico), Amnesty And ‘Instant’ Welfare, Put That Sex In Writing: Tuesday Morning News Roundup 4-30-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Gun sales are as high as they’ve ever been, with demand orders for Sturm, Ruger & Co. backlogged beyond 2 million — even though the company recently upped its production past 1 million units per quarter for the first time in its history.
  • Internet media companies like Google and Facebook are fighting a proposed bill that would force them to comply with law enforcement demands to reveal customers’ real-time online doings — or else face heavy fines.
  • A new Pew survey shows that President Barack Obama’s popularity is rebounding — in Mexico. He’s got a 49 percent approval rating, up from a low of 38 percent in 2011. About one-third of Mexicans surveyed said life in the United States is appealing enough to lure them away from their homes, if they had the means. And 20 percent said they’d run for the border whether it’s legal or not.
  • As parts of a proposed Senate immigration bill come under closer scrutiny, opponents are finding a lot not to like. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) discovered earlier this week that the bill would open public benefits immediately to any illegal alien who’s been granted “registered Provisional Immigrant” status — instead of having them wait 13 years until they could become citizens, as backers of the bill have promised.
  • Some couples, both married and unmarried, are turning to lawyers and contracts to hold each partner accountable for carrying out the obligations and regular activities implied in a typical relationship. That includes scheduling things like vacations, together time, “more fun” and, of course, more sex.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Polls Show More Americans Value Freedom Over Safety

The spirit of Benjamin Franklin’s oft-quoted assertion that “[t]hose who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” may be enjoying more currency among Americans in 2013 than it has since the days of Sept. 11 and the Patriot Act.

Two polls conducted in the wake of the recent Boston Marathon bombings reveal American attitudes may be shifting away from surrendering their personal freedoms in exchange for government’s assurance to keep everyone safe.

A FOX News poll conducted the day after the Boston bombings asked 619 people some of the same questions about the balance between liberty and security that a similar poll had asked immediately following the World Trade Center bombings; the results were very different this time around.

Back in 2001, in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, 71 percent of Americans polled by FOX News responded that they’d be willing to trade some freedom if it would help the U.S. government “reduce the threat of terrorism.” The poll was also repeated following terrorist incidents, both domestic and foreign, in 2002, 2005 and 2006, with the number only slightly declining as respondents’ vivid memories of the most spectacular incident, Sept. 11, slowly receded.

But after Boston, the same poll showed only 43 percent of respondents held that view. That’s the lowest number since before the 2001 attacks, when a May 2001 iteration of the poll turned up only 33 percent of respondents who thought it appropriate to hand over their liberties for the sake of protection.

Among those surveyed, people who identified themselves as political “independents” resisted the idea of giving up their freedoms at a lower rate (29 percent) than either Democrats (36 percent) or Republicans (47 percent).

In a similar poll, The Washington Post asked 588 people: “Which worries you more — that the government will not go far enough to investigate terrorism because of concerns about constitutional rights, or that it will go too far in compromising constitutional rights in order to investigate terrorism?”

Conducted April 17 and 18, the poll showed 48 percent of respondents felt the government would go too far in compromising their Constitutional rights, while 41 percent favored the alternate view. The same poll also showed that 66 percent believe terrorists will always find a way around the government’s most diligent efforts at preventing attacks on U.S. targets.

Watch Out, Gun Owners: Congress Isn’t Done

Just because Federal gun control failed in the Senate earlier this month doesn’t mean it won’t come up again in the 113th Congress.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), one half of the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey duo responsible for a piece of “compromise” gun control legislation that went down in flames April 17, is already making the media rounds with a second gun grab attempt on his mind.

Manchin said on “Fox News Sunday” that he intends to offer another, simpler version of the bill to the Senate — one that he plans to float before opponents with the aim of building the consensus he wasn’t able to find earlier this month.

Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who co-sponsored the dead bill with Manchin, publicly washed his hands of any further efforts at gun control last week, telling reporters: “The Senate had its vote. We’ve seen the outcome of that vote. I am not aware of any reason to believe that, if we had the vote again, that we’d have a different outcome.”

But Sunday, Manchin said Toomey is willing to give the gun grab another go — after the bill has undergone a cleanup that evidently is supposed to make it easier to understand for those Senate opponents who voted against it the first time.

If the bill runs clean, and people can vote on this bill, up or down, based on the merits of this bill — how it protects a gun, a 2nd-Amendment gun person; a law abiding gun, gun owner — it’s perfect for that person. If you’re going to a gun show you’re gonna expect to have a background check. If you’re buying online, whether it’s an out-of-state gun, or in-state — a background check. No intervening at all with family transfers or individual rights whatsoever.

From that bit of clarity, plus other comments Manchin made, it appears Gun Grab II will involve universal background checks, cross-referencing with medical records to ensure no one with a mental illness (the bill would presumably delineate which types) buys a gun, and another attempt to close the fallacious “gun show loophole.”

Manchin didn’t provide a clear timeline for when another gun bill might come to the floor, but this Congress has until the end of 2014 to play with the 2nd Amendment.

Get Your Tickets For The Taliban Season Opener

It’s springtime, and that means it’s Taliban season.

The Islamist terrorist organization jubilantly announced Sunday it’s in the process of prepping a full schedule of murder, surprise attacks and suicide bombs in a “monumental” spring offensive against western infidels:

Although the surrogate Afghan fighters of Americas (i.e. national army, police and Arbaki force) might not be apostate and the chastisement of apostasy are not applied to them but practically they are standing in the ranks of infidels and are fighting against the true Islamic system of life.

In the light of these facts and figures, we are optimistic to Allah Almighty that the noble operations after the name of Khalid-bin-Waleed will annihilate their malicious intensions and will confront them with interminable trounce. Similarly, a historical lesson will be taught to present western enemies of Islam.

Looking forward for the fulfillment of this great longing!

The threat especially focuses on a promised increase in the number of “insider” attacks on western security forces In Afghanistan – by Afghan security forces that have been infiltrated by Taliban operatives.

The terror group’s immediate goal in Afghanistan is the eradication of the western-backed Afghan government, and, presumably, the installation of a theocracy that would merge the law of the land with Islamic religious law.

Through its “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” Twitter feed, the group celebrates its ambushes and bombings on U.S. and allied forces, as well as civilians.

Pro-Gun Grab Groups Have Gotten Millions In Donations From Liberal Billionaire Soros

George Soros, the billionaire chairman of the American fund management firm that bears his name, has donated nearly $7 million to nonprofits that push a pro-gun control agenda between 2000 and 2011.

According to Newsbusters, Soros donated a combined $6,727,966 to five organizations during that period. It’s not yet known how much he’s spent on backing gun-grabbing advocates since the beginning of last year’s string of mass shootings, which raised liberals’ public zeal to legislate gun ownership.

Of the five organizations, only one — the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence — claims gun control as its single cause. But the others — the American Bar Association, The Children’s Defense Fund, The League of Women Voters and Physicians for Social Responsibility — all push gun control aggressively as part of their overall missions of societal reform.

Soros has been criticized by 2nd Amendment watchers as a known gun grabber since at least 2004, when he published a book arguing the Administration of President George W. Bush “infringed the rights of states to legislate and enforce provisions on issues such as gun control and medical marijuana.”

More significantly, Soros holds immense influence over at least 30 major liberal news outlets, including CNN, The New York Times and The Associated Press. He’s spent more than $50 million since 2000 to help fund such outlets, as well as to insinuate liberal points of view through the influence donor money buys at journalism schools both in and outside the United States.

A lot of good it’s doing: Gun and ammunition sales have spiked so greatly since December that manufacturers can’t keep up. As a result, firearms dealers are either turning customers away, rationing ammunition or putting customers on waiting lists.

California Lawmakers Pushing For Statewide Tax On Sugary Drinks

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t the only liberal with statist visions of better living through legislation.

Over on the left coast, California legislators are concocting a variation on Bloomberg’s famous — and failed — attempt to ban large soft drinks, only with an eye toward redistributing a little more of the wealth of the State’s 12.4 million households.

Democratic State Senator Bill Monning is sponsoring a bill that would impose a regressive penny-per-ounce excise tax on sugary sodas and energy drinks, converting the funds raised through the tax into public spending thorough a new entity called the Children’s Health Promotion Fund. That fund would back community obesity prevention programs and further support public health programs in schools.

Remarkably, Californians actually seem to favor the State’s social engineering/money grab measure. A February Field poll found 68 percent of voters in favor of the bill, with the percentage among ethnic voters even higher. The tax would apply not only to canned and bottled beverages, but to fountain sodas sold at restaurants statewide as well.

Predictably, the bill also enjoys positive spin from the very State agencies in line to expand their bureaucratic offerings if the tax is approved. Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy called the tax “fair-minded” in a statement of support for the measure:

Californians are becoming increasingly concerned about the obesity epidemic and its heavy burden on the well-being of Californians, especially our children. More than ever, California voters want solutions that not only hold the biggest contributor to the problem (sugary beverages) accountable, but that also raise funds to address the impact on our children. SB 622 does both of those and is a smart, fair-minded policy to protect our children, our state’s health and, ultimately our state budget.

“Protect… our state budget,” really? Check out some other ways California’s leaders are currently attempting to protect the State budget:

  • Imposing a 9.9 percent “oil severance tax” on oil extraction — an anti-business move against a “captive” industry in a State that has already seen other businesses flee to escape high taxes, regulations and penalties.
  • Raising the registration fee for every privately owned vehicle by $6.
  • Adding a State tax to every point-of-sale purchase of prepaid mobile phones, as well as to every separate purchase of additional phone minutes.
  • Issuing $9 billion in municipal bonds on a $69 billion high-speed rail system that has no set start date for construction, that Governor Jerry Brown wants China to help fund and that the White House is eager to subsidize by an additional $3 billion.

Last month, the State auditor concluded California had a net worth of minus $127.2 billion. Viewed from that awful perspective, there’s no doubt the State’s political power brokers “need” the public’s money.

That California voters have voluntarily continued their support of government tax-and-spend efforts — the rail system, the drink tax and hikes to both income and sales taxes (via the passage of voter referendum Proposition 30) — also reveals, beyond any doubt, that nothing’s going to change in the Golden State anytime soon.

Gun Grabbing Chicago Policies Not Helping As Homicides Rise

According to a crime-tracking blog, stripping residents’ 2nd Amendment rights isn’t doing much to get guns out of criminals’ hands in the Windy City.

Crime In Chicago tallies 510 shootings and 105 homicides through the first four months of 2013.

The blog provides daily updates on violent crime, and maintains data on crime in the city from previous years.

For 2012, the site reports 2,670 shootings in Chicago, an increase of 20 percent from the 2,217 shootings in 2011. Homicides in 2012 totaled 535, compared with 441 in 2011.

Mormon Bishop Ends Attack On Woman, Using His Samurai Sword

A weapon in a good guy’s hands — be it a gun or, maybe, something else — is far from dangerous.

For a woman who was being attacked Tuesday in front of a Salt Lake City home, a 29-inch samurai sword proved to be her salvation.

That’s because homeowner Kent Hendrix awoke to a commotion, went outside and saw the woman being mugged. His son had told him something bad was happening outside, so Hendrix grabbed his sword on the way out and approached the scene.

One look at the blade and its wielder, who also happens to be a Mormon bishop and a fourth-degree black belt, was enough to convince the alleged perpetrator to scram. Hendrix noticed the man appeared to have dropped a tube of Chapstick as he fled, so Hendrix snapped it up and yelled, “I’ve got your DNA and I’ve got your license plate [memorized] — you are so done!”

An hour later, suspect Grant Eggerston turned himself in. He was booked for robbery, attempted burglary, trespassing and violation of a stalking injunction.

Hat Tip: The Blaze

 

Bone Up On Your Rights Before Encountering A Bad Cop

A helpful video produced by Flex Your Rights, an educational nonprofit that seeks to inform Americans about their Constitutional protections against state infringement, offers some invaluable advice on how to handle an encounter with a police officer who has more on his mind than protecting and serving.

The video enacts 10 different dramatic scenarios portraying encounters with aggressive, mean and just plain crooked cops that illustrate — frighteningly, at times — how innocent people have very little wiggle room when a bad cop with a sense of entitlement throws them off their guard. Aside from the immediate danger a cop with evil intent presents, victims face an equal danger in defending their actions, in the aftermath, when they have to explain their side of the story in court.

Explains narrator Billy Murphy, criminal defense lawyer and former judge:

There are lots of good police out there doing what needs to be done – and I don’t need to tell you that there are also a few too many cops who don’t respect the basic rights of innocent people…and even the nicest cop will use your mistakes against you. That’s precisely why every citizen – every one of you – must possess the tools to confidently assert your rights if you have to.

The video, which has been in circulation since 2010, can be bought directly from the organization’s website.

Or you can check it out on YouTube. Just be sure to share.

 

Credit Company Ends Financing For Small Gun Shops, Cites Mass Shootings

One of the Nation’s largest consumer finance companies will no longer provide consumer credit service to gun shops, citing “tragic events” and a changing financial services industry.

GE Capital, which contracts with American retailers to extend point-of-sale credit to customers, announced Wednesday it would tighten up on a policy it had originally approved in 2008 to “cease providing consumer financing programs to merchants whose primary business is to sell firearms.”

The company is headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., and employs many people who live in nearby Newtown, the site of last December’s school murders. Peter Lanza, the father of alleged shooter Adam Lanza, holds a vice president’s position within the company.

“As a responsible lender, we regularly review our lending policies and products to meet changing conditions and requirements,” said the company’s statement. “In 2008, we adopted a policy to cease providing consumer financing programs to merchants whose primary business is to sell firearms. Recently, we implemented a more rigorous audit process in our sporting goods segment in light of industry changes, new legislation and tragic events that have caused widespread reexamination of policies on firearms. This process has affected less [sic] than 75 retailers…”

Of course, the pullout doesn’t apply to general retailers or sporting goods stores that offer guns as part of their larger consumer inventory. Stores like Wal-Mart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, which sell guns, won’t be affected, but local mom-and-pop stores will be.

The company sent letters earlier this month to stores who had agreements, telling owners “GE Capital Retail Bank has made the difficult decision to discontinue offering the GE Capital Sport Finance program to your store(s).” GE also pulled the plug on merchant services accounts for Visa and Mastercard point-of-sale terminals in gun stores that had agreed to go with the company for its credit and debit card-swiping service.

GE Capital isn’t the first finance company to shun those who make their living from gun-related sales and services. In fact, the company’s exit marks the removal of gun stores’ only remaining option for offering consumer financing for their products, according to Bloomberg.